The 1st step is admitting you have a problem

I need help.

I need help on a going-to-Betty-Ford-clinic level.

Nope I’m not addicted to alcohol, drugs, nicotine or anything like that.  Every year starting in November – and here lately in late October – I get this weird addiction to Holiday Planning books.  I see them on display while I’m grocery shopping and before I know what’s happening I’m suddenly standing in front of them browsing.  Now they not only have them at grocery stores but Lowes and Home Depot too.  And taking my daughter to tutoring at Barnes and Noble at this time of the year is a complete sensory overload.

The reason I know it’s an addiction?

Addiction [uh-dik-shuhn] (n) the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

Ok, so maybe it’s not quite an addiction because I don’t think ceasing it would cause me severe trauma.  However we may have to test that theory next year because I’ve already purchased “Holiday Editions” of two magazines and 1 Better Homes and Gardens book.  Still not seeing the problem?  Look at this:

DSCN0209

I cleaned out the cookbook and food magazine cabinet in my kitchen today.  Those are just the Christmas and/or Holiday books and magazines I’ve collected over the last 10-15 years.  And in true confession style, I didn’t clean the basement bookshelves that would’ve added at least 10 more.

I knew it started to be a problem a few years back when I had a 20 minute conversation with myself inside the Meijer trying to talk myself out of purchasing a Martha Stewart Living magazine – December issue.

“I don’t need it.” I hear myself say.

“But it has a wonderful recipe on how to make chocolate ganache.”  The addicted me says.

“But you aren’t going to have any time to make the ganache.”  I say.

“But look it’s only twelve ‘simple’ steps involving kitchen utensils I can’t pronounce – it has to be good!”  Addicted me counters.  “And a 13 page pull out – the Ultimate Holiday Meal – including prep instructions!”

“But you’re not cooking  a Holiday dinner,” I say.  “We don’t have a traditional dinner and what we do have is a pitch-in.”

“Oh…. Look here a cocktail party guide!” Addicted me points out.  Knowing I’m a sucker for cocktail recipes – which actually lends credit to the Betty Ford Clinic aspect however I usually don’t make the fabulous cocktail recipes I have …..so ….

“Really?!?!?!” I say.  “Well, maybe I should purchase it just because I may not be able to find anyway to make Apple Champagne Sangria without this magazine.”

And the magazine goes in my cart.  And hopefully the lady behind me in the checkout line hasn’t called 911 because there’s a crazy lady having an argument with herself.  The argument has been repeated in my head so many times it’s like a script.  Just insert various things like “Nutter butters made to look like reindeer” in place of “Chocolate Ganache.”  Or, “handmade marshmallows” for “cocktail party guide.”

Usually January or February rolls around and my senses return to normal.  I put the 4 or 5 books and magazines up on the shelf and vow to not buy any more next year.  Because in February I can see that every one of the books and magazines above are exactly the same in content and nature with slight variations from year to year.  I can break it down for you:

1)      Recipes.  There are various recipes for cooking turkey, ham and pork loins or pork roasts.  They have slight changes in spices or stuffing ideas but pretty much it’s the same every year.  There are 6 different ways to fix potatoes, green beans, carrots and asparagus – they just rotate every 3-5 years.  And then there are pages and pages and pages of desserts and cookies and candies and fudge.

2)      Crafts.  There are always several sections on multiple uses for glitter and popsicle sticks and salt dough.  Depending on which book or magazine they may even include easy knitting or sewing projects.  I have learned “easy” is in the eye of the beholder.  And there is that little voice inside you that tells you that you are capable of making handmade Christmas cards for all the people on your card list using punches and rubber stamps and glitter and glue.

3)      Decorations.  Ahhh yes the decorations section.  How to make your living room like a winter wonderland.  Candles and miniature tress mixed with ornaments and garland to adorn a mantle.  And each year there is theme or sometimes they throw in several themes based on their readers preferences: 1)Whimsy – something that looks like it popped out of a Who’s ass  2)Traditional – something that looks like it popped out of an Elf’s ass 3)Victorian – something that looks like it popped out of Jane Austin’s ass.

4)      Gifts.  There is always a section of either gift suggestions you can purchase or make.  Ah yes … usually section that completely sucks me in.  Of course in between work, the kid’s extra-curricular activities, shopping and holiday parties I have time to bake 10 dozen different kinds of cookies or fudge to give as presents.  And depending on which magazine you buy the gift giving guide can be entertaining – I hope I’m not on Martha Stewart’s list, 96 color cotton thread set anyone?  And likewise I can’t afford a $650 wine decanter for my sister-in-law.  And on the other end of the spectrum All You suggests I give my sister-in-law a zebra striped slow cooker for $20.  No worries Cheryl – I know where the gift cards are!!

(Sigh)

As you can see rational me has written this blog.  The part of my brain that knows the following about the holidays:  1) Thanksgiving will include a turkey, stuffing, slow cooked green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, handmade noodles, canned cranberry sauce, green bean casserole (thanks to a defiant and non traditional niece who insists on tormenting me every year), a veggie tray for snacking before dinner and pumpkin & sugar cream pies for dessert – all made from recipes that were my grandmothers.  2) Christmas dinner will be on Christmas Eve with my family having a themed pitch-in – the theme being anything but what we just ate at Thanksgiving.  3) Christmas with my in-laws usually has to wait until January and sometimes we cook or sometimes we go to a restaurant whichever works out best.  4) My house will be outlined in colored lights with a lopsided half-ass decorated tree inside and stockings hung from the fireplace.  5) My family has a gift exchange that is pretty simple so gift giving is easy and limited.  5) If I bake anything it will be my standby Pecan Pie recipe or the Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe or one of about 15 cookie recipes I don’t stray from.

Hey maybe I should keep that list with me while I shop this year.  That way I’m not arguing with myself while standing in the check-out line.

P.S. – I did clean out 2 shopping bags full of recipe booklets and magazines – however none of the ones pictured above are in either of the bags.  After all it’s bad to quit an addiction cold turkey.

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